OESD: Dutch school pupils unmotivated, little order classrooms

Primary school classroom (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Douglas P Perkins)Primary school classroom (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Douglas P Perkins)

While the Netherlands has one of the best education systems in the world, it pays little attention to discipline in classrooms and motivating talented students, according to a large report on the state of Dutch education by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Volkskrant reports.

According to the report, Dutch classrooms are noisy, undisciplined and noisy. Even good pupils show little interest in their education and the system does not motivate students to make an effort.

The Dutch education system leaves a lot of talent unused. Until 2008 Dutch schools had no space for "excellent students". Since then a few programs were added, but they are still an exception in an education system that is almost solely focused on the "average learner", according to the report. 59 percent of Dutch schools offer remedial courses for struggling students, but there are almost no courses for kids who need more of a challenge.

According to the OECD, the education system bores above average students. They are not rewarded for intellectual curiosity and are not motivated to do more than is strictly necessary. The Dutch system focuses more on punishment than reward. Those who perform poorly are kept behind or sent to a lower level. But those who do well are not rewarded. The OECD feels that the Netherlands fails to recognize that positive incentives are more effective than negative reinforcement.

But on balance, the Netherlands is doing very well in educating its young people. Relatively many Dutch kids end up in tertiary education - 44 percent of 25- to 34-year-olds. Dutch students perform better in language, science and mathematics than most of their European peers, though less well than their Asian peers. The Netherlands also does better in keeping socially disadvantage students in the system than most other Western countries. The Dutch education system fits well with the labor market and the Education Inspectorate does its job well.

"The Dutch school system is one of the best of the OECD countries", the report concludes